IT is worth considering the significant relationship between two features in your Saturday issue (October 3): Struan Stevenson's "SNP acting like Orwell's Big Brother", and, in the Magazine, "Inside Russia's military Disneyland" by Rory McLean.

Both bring to mind Orwell's 1984 and the use of propaganda to stifle unrest among the people. Its title is misleading but, nevertheless, the British once considered its study an essential part of secondary school education, then simply used the book's main theme of surveillance as the base of voyeuristic national entertainment. But Orwell sets the global scene for his prophetic novel in the present tense and the world is divided into three huge blocs, Eastasia, Eurasia and Oceania, so easy to replace with China, the EU and an Atlantic alliance. Moreover, since his compulsory two-minute hate, so horribly suggestive of our almost compulsory doorstep cacophony in support of the NHS, required an object, a historic persona is represented on the screen as the enemy. The tenor of Mr McLean's message implies that this may now be Vladmir Putin.

The terrifying annual celebration in Russia's leisure parks described by Mr McLean is to demonstrate Russia's military power. Territorially vast, Russia is a poor country wedged between the EU and China and further weakened by trade sanctions which make its already poor people even poorer. These foreign acts of hostility, combined with the EU's shameless courtship of Ukraine and the possible subsequent loss of Russia's only direct military route to the Middle East, not to mention the current international "Joint Warrior" maritime exercises off the Scottish coast, would surely warrant any country so situated geographically both reassuring its people and warning off aggressors.

Have we forgotten the heroic services of our merchant seamen in the Arctic convoys or Sputnik and the International Space Station or that Russia (and her Winters) saved Europe from both French domination under Napoleon and German under Hitler?

Mr Putin has to govern a huge area of many differences of temperature and ethnic diversity. Please can we stop demonising him?

Mary Rolls, Jedburgh.